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Focus on the Family's "The Truth Project" is a DVD series taught by Dr. Del Tackett of the Focus on the Family Institute. The series is pitched to churches throughout the nation and presented through small groups led by "facilitators," folks officially trained at Focus on the Family Regional Training Conferences.
The program is a slick, media-rich presentation of the Christian worldview according to Dr. Tackett and others at Focus on the Family, including their views on philosophy, science, and sociology. It pushes a strong bifurcation between "the true worldview" and "the false worldviews," arguing both that there is a crisp division between the two and that the program represents the former side impeccably. It is claimed that the views of Dr. Tackett and his associates represent reality, while those who disagree subscribe to "pernicious lies."
This is the teaser trailer for The Truth Project:
Looks pretty cool, right? Many participants I've talked to have emerged from the series excited and feeling educated.
Unfortunately, The Truth Project is problematic in two critical ways.
First, it is problematic with regard to intrachristian issues. Several of the philosophies and doctrines promoted by The Truth Project -- at the expense of others -- are in alignment with some Christian traditions. But the program packages them in language that suggests that these philosophies and doctrines are universally accepted as "essential Christianity." This overlooks the fact that other legitimate Christian traditions hold different positions, inhibiting open and critical examination of these disputed issues. It is an attempt at Christian unity by way of unjust exclusion (1 Cor 3:4-10).
Second, it is problematic with regard to factual information. In the series, many different beliefs about science, doctrine and philosophy are attacked. Unfortunately, they are also misrepresented; the attacks are upon "straw men." Opposing views should always be fairly and accurately represented, not only because it is wrong to give false testimony (Exod 20:16), but also because the believer's faith will suffer when he later discovers the actual truth (Matt 18:6).
Last year I participated in a Truth Project group and emerged discouraged. Dr. Tackett made many false claims about many things, all in the name of absolute truth. And the bifurcative nature of the program made these lies even more frustrating. My Christian brethren were being misled, and I subsequently saw more and more churches incorporate The Truth Project into their ministries.
I built this web site with a Christ-centered, truth-centered intent. It is my first attempt at reaching churches, pastors and laypeople whose foundation for their faith may have been inadvertently weakened by The Truth Project. In propagating untruths, Dr. Tackett and Focus on the Family, in this case, have provided Christians with foundations of sand, and I'm genuinely worried about its effects on American Christianity in particular.
Now, don't get me wrong -- much of The Truth Project is moderately valuable for Christians. But there are many factual blunders taught in the program as well, and those blunders are used as premises for later claims, devaluing them. Those who susbcribe to all of the program's claims will find themselves with a worldview based partially on false teachings.
Like Dr. Tackett, I do not have a degree in any of theology, philosophy, natural science, etc. Dr. Tackett's degree is in management, and mine is in software engineering. But even as someone who is limited to personal study and conference with folks more knowledgeable than I am, I feel that this DVD series is demonstrably misleading in many of the points it makes.
This site contains five sections.
Two are "Fact Check" sections. In them, I rebut several false claims made by Dr. Tackett in the program. Although there are non sequiturs and bad implications in several of the Tours, most of the demonstrably untrue teachings can be found in Tours 2 and 5.
These two sections should be enough to sufficiently concern those interested in The Truth Project. Even if you come to the same conclusions as Dr. Tackett in the end, you should agree that the deceptive means by which he arrives at those conclusions are irresponsible and dangerous.
The other three sections are essays that confront some of the overarching, worldview-defining cases made by the program. These "Other Christian Viewpoints" sections are less cut-and-dry than the "Fact Check" sections; the intent is merely to cogently present some legitimate Christian viewpoints that Dr. Tackett brazenly calls anti-Christian.
I pray that, after reading the material on this site, you'll agree that The Truth Project both is unreliable in much of the information it presents and needlessly attacks some genuinely Christian views, and is thus not a good fit for your church or small group.
If, however, your church or small group is already invested in the series, you might consider compiling lists of errata so that group leaders can correct the program's mistakes in a cool and casual manner.
You can leave feedback at my e-mail account for this site:
TheTruthProblem @ gmail.com
I'm interested both in constructive criticism and in encouragement!